The European Union told its member states this week that the cost to fund future pensions for the ageing population will dwarf the debts incurred by the current economic crisis.

As noted on a bulletin released on AFP, the only solution, according to EU experts and a paper to be put to member states and the European Parliament, is for citizens to work well past their existing retirement ages — with only minimal health care and social security safety nets provided by the state.

Five states were put on the ‘high risk’ list:  Britain, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Latvia.

Top marks went to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Bulgaria – classified as low risk because of their healthy public finances and major pension reforms enacted before the crisis started.